DAY 10 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12:
We spent the entire day in Jerusalem. It was another sunny day, with highs unusually in the mid 90s.
Leaving shortly after 7:30 again after another great buffet breakfast (and opening the day with Mark 13:1-2), we drove back to the Western Wall. It was interesting to see the many ultra Orthodox Jews praying under the canopy of their tallits (prayer shawls). Here we entered the Western Wall Tunnel (also called the Rabbinical Tunnels). After a brief explanation of the Temple Mount expanded by Herod the Great in 20 BC, we walked parallel to this western retaining wall of the Temple. We walked north about 300 yards. Along the way we saw many fascinating things, including huge Herodian stones (one called the Master Course that weighs hundreds of tons). It was quite fascinating!
Exiting the tunnel in the Muslim Quarter, we walked back to the Jewish Quarter. Here, we enjoyed listening to an Orthodox Jew named Moshe. He and his brother own a shop called Shorashim. Moshe talked about his Jewish thought and practice. It was quite enlightening to hear him share.
After eating lunch here in the Jewish Quarter, we walked out of the Old City through the Zion’s Gate. Meeting David and the bus here, we drove to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust. Museum & Memorial. First, we walked through the Valley of the Communities. We then listened to Shlomo’s own personal family story before walking through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. We also saw trees dedicated to “Righteous Gentiles” such as Oscar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, and others It was a sober experience here knowing that 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazi regime during WWII.
Our last stop was the Israel Museum. Here we walked around a 1:50 model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD. We made a lot of connections with the life and ministry of Jesus in and around the Temple. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book dedicated for the display of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found at Qumran. Lastly, we saw the highlights of artifacts in the archaeological wing of the museum. We saw the Dan & Pilate inscriptions, the high place of Arad, the place of trumpeting inscription found at the SW corner of the Temple, and Herod’s sarcophagus, among many others.
We returned to the hotel for dinner, followers by a special excursion to the City of David to see the brand-new sound & light show. It was excellent!
DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: GEZER, BETH SHEMESH, QEIYAFA/ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GURVRIN, LACHISH, BEERSHEBA